Pawarumi (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Gabriel Jones 30.07.2019 1

Review for Pawarumi on Nintendo Switch

Today marks the last day of Nemontemi; end of the 3rd Calabtun. With the burden of countless lost lives weighing heavily upon her, Axo prepares for her final battle with the Council. Thanks to her trusty ship Chukaru, she has singlehandedly taken down monarchs both corrupt and cruel. However, even if she destroys all of her enemies, will she ever discover the truth hiding beneath the conflict? In Pawarumi, pilots of all skill levels will fight in a war without borders or mercy. Though alone and severely outnumbered, they're expected to do the impossible. It's undoubtedly unfair, but it's also what makes shmups so much fun.

Pawarumi, much like any other STG worth its salt, challenges pilots to not only survive an unrelenting onslaught, but to also do so in style. Each of the five stages is packed full of opportunities to score big, or die horribly. With diligent practice, and an understanding of the unique weapon system, you just might have a chance at topping the online leaderboards. While fighting through the armada, be sure to take in the wonderful sights and sounds. The developer went for retro futuristic pre-Columbian aesthetic. Though that description doesn't roll off the tongue very easily, it's clear that the architecture and atmosphere give this game its own creative identity.

Screenshot for Pawarumi on Nintendo Switch

Now then, let's dig into that "unique weapon system." The Chukaru has three weapons, and each of them is mapped to a respective button. One is a red-flavoured lock-on shot, the other a green-coloured forward blast, and the laser, which is as deadly as it is blue. Note that none of these weapons cover a particularly large range. That's because enemies also come in red, green, and blue. Being able to hit a large number of them at once would complicate things. Confused? It all makes sense once you understand the Trinity Mechanic.

To better explain how this system functions, an example will be presented. Imagine Axo is flying through a fortified base, and she's accosted by a green ship. If she fires her green weapon at it, then she will replenish her shields. However, the enemy will become "boosted", and that causes their firepower to increase. By firing her red lock-on, Axo will "drain" the enemy, which builds meter for her super attack. If she just wants to eliminate to destroy her foe quickly, she can "crush" them with the blue laser. Naturally, the optimal weapon can change depending on both the enemy-type and the situation. It's up to the pilot to figure out the best course of action, while getting bombarded from every direction. This is a shmup after all. Although you don't have time to think, you'll eventually memorize when and where enemies are going to come from, and be able to react accordingly.

Screenshot for Pawarumi on Nintendo Switch

If you're still not 100% sure about what needs to be done to succeed, feel free to check out the in-game tutorial. Also, the handy UI changes depending on what weapon is being fired. You're going to need to account for your current status in every engagement. Since enemy ships become more powerful while boosted, it's usually not a good idea to immediately attempt to recover shields after taking a hit. Over-zealous pilots tend to get overwhelmed, especially if whatever they're firing at is capable of cluttering the screen with bullets. Cooler heads always prevail. Also, enemies tend to cough up more points when they're "crushed," so take advantage whenever possible. Don't forget about the super attack, either. It clears the battlefield and absolutely decimates bosses.

Besides their inspired architecture and vivid settings, each stage presents a startling diverse array of minions and obstacles to contend with. In "Old Zealand," there are three transports. All of them carry parts that are affixed to the boss of that region. Axo must make an effort to destroy the parts before they reach their owner, otherwise the ensuing battle will become more difficult. However, she also can't ignore the enemies that hound her along the way, particularly because they're worth a fair amount of points. In another instance, a crushing ball chases the Chukaru. The only way out is to "crush" the enemies that appear, so that their remains slow the massive orb down. These scenarios add a lot to the game. They present an inspired challenge that rewards a player's understanding of the mechanics.

Screenshot for Pawarumi on Nintendo Switch

The bosses are also quite impressive. They're large multi-form affairs that utilize a wide array of attacks. What sets them apart from encounters in other games is the pacing. Though they're quite imposing, they can be defeated fairly quickly. This isn't like some STGs where players are expected to train their laser on a massive boss for several minutes, all the while being peppered by spreads of bullets. By effectively managing the Chukaru's weapons, you can get through these bouts, without endlessly weaving through danger. Of course, don't expect a free ride either. The normal and hard difficulties aren't shy about throwing bullets around, so there's still plenty of dodging to be done.

If this all sounds really good, then that's because it is. Pawarumi is a fine game that shmup fans are sure to appreciate. However, the Nintendo Switch port is less than ideal. Upon starting, the serious problem that you'll notice is the frame-rate. This port runs at 30 FPS. Although there aren't any drops, even hardened veterans are going to find themselves struggling. Reacting to enemy bullets, especially when they're boosted, is unnaturally difficult. It's hard to keep your eyes focused during an intense battle, simply because the visuals aren't as clear as they should be.

Screenshot for Pawarumi on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Ultimately, Pawarumi is an inventive and engaging STG that's held back by a low frame-rate. Considering the genre, a lesser game would completely fall apart if it ran at 30 FPS. At least with this one, its admirable qualities still shine through. The art-direction is quite interesting and the Trinity Mechanics are really well-executed. That said; dealing with the handicap of having less reaction time is liable to be too much for some players. It's advisable to wait for a possible 60 FPS patch, or check out the version that's available on Steam. Otherwise, expect at least some frustration and anger in your future.


Manufacture 43


Manufacture 43





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Hook (guest) 18.08.2022#1

There has been a 60 FPS patch since and the physical edition(s) include the patch already on the cartridge as well.

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